Don't judge the public's demand for democracy by number of protesters alone, the government is told Pro-democracy leaders warned against comparing the turnout at today's march with last year's, saying the government should not judge the appetite for democracy by the size of the protest alone. The organisers, concerned that forecasts of bad weather would dampen turnout, said even if the turnout was lower than they expect, the protest would nevertheless indicate there was a clear demand for universal suffrage and better governance. The comments came as the organiser of the protest, the Civil Human Rights Front, discovered that its e-mail server had been hacked into and a mass e-mail sent out claiming the march would be postponed due to bad weather. Last year, more than 500,000 protesters - many dressed in black - braved blazing sunshine to make an historic protest against the National Security Bill and take a stand for increased democracy. Barrister Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Article 45 Concern Group which promotes the introduction of universal suffrage, said the public's support for democracy should not be judged solely on today's turnout. 'The government might think that it should praise the heavens if only 100,000 turn up. I don't agree with this logic, because in any democracy if such a large number of people march to voice their demands, it is an important signal which cannot be ignored,' Mr Leong said. 'The figure is not important. But the wish for universal suffrage and better governance remains paramount in the minds of the Hong Kong public.' Lee Wing-tat, vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, said the forecast of temperatures up to 33 degrees Celsius with occasional downpours and thunderstorms would deter some. But regardless of the turnout, he said the democrats were set to win the September Legislative Council election. 'Barring any dramatic and unexpected moves by Beijing, the support for the pro-democracy camp and the things we are fighting for will remain stable until the September election. This is because the whole trend in society has long been consolidated since July 1 last year,' Mr Lee said. He said the apparent improvement in relations between Beijing and the democrats would not discourage marchers from turning up. 'If the leftists feel relieved to see a smaller march this year, they will be surprised when they count how many seats they will lose in September.' Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said today's march would serve as a prelude to the election, the ultimate display of public demand. He said even though morale could be dented if the turnout was lowered by bad weather, it could easily be rebuilt soon enough. Rose Wu Lo-sai, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, said the theme of the march was to change the present political system through mass community action. She urged the public to join the march, which starts at 3pm in the Victoria Park. 'Regardless of the numbers, public support for democracy is clear,' she said. 'More important is to live out the yearning for democracy in everyday life. This will achieve an even greater result.'